SAFF brings films to Montreal for the sixth year

South Asian films are taking over Montreal at the SAFF Festival.

The South Asian Film Festival of Montreal brings works from India, Pakistan and Nepal to the J.A de Sève cinema

You can now see Bengal, Mumbai, Lahore, Delhi and many other areas of Southern Asia without leaving Montreal.

The South Asian Film Festival of Montreal (SAFF) will be screening a specially-selected collection of intriguing, eclectic and diverse films hailing from all areas of the Indian subcontinent for the sixth year in a row, from Nov.  4 to 6.

“One of the things I’ve been saying to people is that when you attend the whole festival, from Friday to Sunday, you end up getting a virtual visual tour of South Asia,” said Dushyant Yajnik, the director of SAFF.

The festival will present both short and longer feature films, including documentaries and works of fiction. “One of our criteria is to present anything that describes the human condition and all its complexity in an authentic way,” said Yajnik. Though not all the films are in English, they will all have English subtitles.

This year, the festival will be presenting 17 films. After each screening, there will be a panel where the film will be discussed.

“Every film, we have a panel discussion because I think it’s important that we have a serious discussion,” said Yajnik. “We sometimes invite the film’s director, local experts from film studies and film critics from the local newspapers.” According to Yajnik people from the community who have background knowledge in Indian films, or in the specific issues the films raise are also invited to take part in the panel discussion.

Yajnik said the panels allow for communication between different groups, and they welcome audience participation through the question periods that take place after the discussion.

Highlights of this year’s festival include Angry Indian Goddesses, which will open the festival on Nov. 4. In this film, a group of friends take an impromptu trip to Goa, India as one member of the group has a surprise announcement to make. Directed by Pan Nalin, this is reputed to be India’s first female ‘buddy’ movie, depicting a close friendship between a group of women.

Song of Lahore tells the story of musicians determined to practice their craft, despite the strict Sharia laws that prohibit any music that is not religious. The film is directed by Andy Schocken and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who won an Oscar this year for A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness. Song of Lahore will screen on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.

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